Forza Repubblica Italiana: Celebration of Italy’s freedom from Nazism by The United States of America

October 27, 2010

“I am constantly amazed by man’s inhumanity to man.” Primo Levi

Despite the fact that Fascist Italy had been one of the key Axis powers, the Allies, especially the Americans, were treated as liberators when they entered Rome. This was in part because of the German occupation. Source: U.S. Army.

Despite the fact that Fascist Italy had been one of the key Axis powers, the Allies, especially the Americans, were treated as liberators when they entered Rome. This was in part because of the German occupation. Source: U.S. Army.

A testimony by Guest Author Marcelo F. Antunes

This celebration is performed by Italians dressed with uniforms of US Soldiers and Marines supported by real Jeep’s and armored cars and it is held every year at September 1st at the Capri Island at the Napoli Gulf.

It happened twice, first the real thing at September 1st, 1996 as can be seen printed in the pictures, then recently a closed friend let me use his slides scanner and I started to digitalize all my slides & negatives taken at all my previous trips around the world.

Hotel - Ana Capri

Hotel – Ana Capri

It seemed to me that I did enter a time capsule as several facts already forgotten came to my mind live again. This is one of those reminds that must be revived again as freedom be it from a physical slavery or mind slaved standpoint is always a quest to be realized.

I came to Ana Capri for a timely vacation with my wife Thereza and we arrived there exactly at August 30th when we were notified by the hotel concierge that next day starting at the night fall an yearly celebration known as “Settembrata” was going to take place and we were invited to participate – we were the only Hotel guests – as this is a celebration that only Ana Capri citizens were allowed to enroll.

We decided to do it and at the fall of the celebration day we received tickets for it and it started by a continuous people lane where all of them received flowers, banners as it started moving with all people singing local songs amidst narrow streets all decorated.

First stop was for a cup of wine and some appetizers – “entrés” – with a round dance after it following through the streets to the next stop for a “primo piatto” also with a glass of wine then … “secondo piatto”, … till we reached a small square where we spotted several US Soldiers – as we firstly imagine – with the American Flag – yet singing in Italian!

We asked our feast fellows about such an incredible fact when we knew that was a celebration of Italy WW II freedom granted by the Allies, specially the American Army, Navy and Air Force. Then following though the streets, squares and gardens, lots of Soldiers, Marines, Jeeps, Armored cars, etc., where met with songs, flowers, speeches and whatsoever might be realized about.

A real big party. Only people that can think, knows how to be grateful for a freedom! I haven’t yet returned to see if the celebration repeats at the very same day!

I hope it could help in support of US Soldiers, Marines and Pilots in the eternal fight against ignorance, slavery and to all democracy enemies as well. There is another essay at my site helping in the understand about our individual and collective war towards a more Just and Righteous World. It can be downloaded here.

Marcelo F. Antunes

Photos: © Marcelo F. Antunes


David Harris 20th Anniversary

October 19, 2010

Dear Friends,

This year, David Harris celebrates his 20th anniversary as American Jewish Committee Executive Director – marking two decades of his passionate and devoted service to the Jewish people, American society and the global community.

As president of AJC, I’m asking you to make a gift to commemorate this milestone. Please click here to contribute.

No single professional has epitomized AJC’s values, vision, activism, humanitarianism and achievement more than David Harris. David has been hailed as one of the Jewish people’s foremost advocates and most distinguished and eloquent spokesmen.

In fact, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon recently said, “David Harris is the consummate Jewish diplomat of our time.”

Looking to the future, David will continue to advocate for the issues most important to the Jewish people, including:

  • Supporting a democratic Israel in its quest for peace and security
  • Speaking out against Iran’s mission to build nuclear weapons
  • Building mutual respect between different religious and ethnic groups, leading to a more tolerant world
  • Moving America towards energy independence – critical for both our national security and our environment
  • Seeking a world in which all people are afforded human rights, human dignity and human freedom

Of course, David’s vision has always relied upon an informed, motivated and active young generation prepared to take on the responsibilities and challenges of Jewish communal leadership. As such, he continues to champion our ACCESS program, which focuses on developing young Jewish leaders.

Your participation will be deeply meaningful and greatly appreciated by David and everyone at AJC. Your special gift will go a long way to support the vital work and global outreach that have become AJC trademarks.

Please click here to contribute to David’s 20th Anniversary celebration today. Please give as generously as you can – any amount would be appreciated.

Sincerely,
Robert Elman
President, American Jewish Committee (AJC)


The Legacy of Niccolò Machiavelli: The Common Sense in Politics

October 15, 2010

„The first opinion which one forms of a prince, and of his understanding, is by observing the men he has around him; and when they are capable and faithful he may always be considered wise, because he has known how to recognize the capable and to keep them faithful. But when they are otherwise one cannot form a good opinion of him, for the prime error which he made was in choosing them.“ Niccolò Machiavelli

„Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power’s disappearance.” Hannah Arendt

Historians Hannah Holborn Gray, Roger D. Masters, Mark Musa, Robert Hariman, Henry Kissinger, Gary Hart and Donald Kagan recalled Niccolò Machiavelli, the founder of modern politics.

Historian Quentin Skinner on Machiavelli’s The Prince (1513)


The Beginning of the End for NATO?

October 15, 2010

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the cuts to defense budgets in Britain and other European countries endangered the strength of NATO, which requires members to spend 2 percent of national income on defense.

“As nations deal with their economic problems, we must guard against the hollowing out of alliance military capability by spending reductions that cut too far into muscle,” Gates said. British Foreign Secretary William Hague rejected the concerns, saying Britain will remain a reliable U.S. ally. Britain’s planned cuts – which could shave off more than six hundred thousand public-sector jobs by 2015 – would make it the most aggressive deficit-reducer among major economies.

On STRATFOR, analyst Marko Papic says perceptions of the “threat environment” that unifies NATO have undermined in the post-Cold War era, marking the beginning of the end for the alliance.

Read full story.


China-Bashing contaminates 2010 United States midterm elections

October 8, 2010

China is emerging as a common adversary in midterm U.S. election campaigns, as candidates from both parties seize on anxieties about China’s growing economic power to attack each other on trade policies, outsourcing, and the deficit.

 

French political cartoon from the late 1890s. A pie represents "Chine" (French for China) and is being divided between caricatures of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, William II of Germany (who is squabbling with Queen Victoria over a borderland piece, whilst thrusting a knife into the pie to signify aggressive German intentions), Nicholas II of Russia, who is eyeing a particular piece, the French Marianne (who is diplomatically shown as not participating in the carving, and is depicted as close to Nicholas II, as a reminder of the Franco-Russian Alliance), and the Meiji Emperor of Japan, carefully contemplating which pieces to take. A stereotypical Qing official throws up his hands to try and stop them, but is powerless. It is meant to be a figurative representation of the Imperialist tendencies of these nations towards China during the decade.

French political cartoon from the late 1890s. A pie represents "Chine" (French for China) and is being divided between caricatures of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, William II of Germany (who is squabbling with Queen Victoria over a borderland piece, whilst thrusting a knife into the pie to signify aggressive German intentions), Nicholas II of Russia, who is eyeing a particular piece, the French Marianne (who is diplomatically shown as not participating in the carving, and is depicted as close to Nicholas II, as a reminder of the Franco-Russian Alliance), and the Meiji Emperor of Japan, carefully contemplating which pieces to take. A stereotypical Qing official throws up his hands to try and stop them, but is powerless. It is meant to be a figurative representation of the Imperialist tendencies of these nations towards China during the decade.

 

With U.S. economic revival still slow, trade policy looms as a an issue in midterm races, The Wall Street Journal reports.

***

China-Bashing Gains Bipartisan Support

By Naftali Bendavid, The Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2010

China is emerging as a bogeyman this campaign season, with candidates across the American political spectrum seizing on anxieties about the country’s growing economic might to pummel each other on trade, outsourcing and the deficit.

In television ads, China is framed as an ominous foreign influence in a time of economic anxiety, often accompanied by red flags and communist-style stars and sometimes by Asian-sounding music. Democrats say Republicans support tax breaks that reward companies for moving jobs to China; Republicans blame Democrats for a federal budget deficit they say forces the U.S. to borrow money from China.

“Candidates are looking to speak in a visceral way to the fears and concerns of voters about jobs,” said Lawrence Jacobs, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota. “Bashing China is safe.”

The heated rhetoric puts the White House in a bind. Administration officials often don’t mind Congress putting pressure on China, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner himself in a speech Wednesday offered a blunt critique of Beijing’s currency policy. But officials also worry that a confrontational approach could backfire.

Both nations may feel compelled by public opinion to engage in “an escalation of rhetoric that is going to be difficult to manage” after the election, said Charles Freeman, chairman of China studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Wang Baodong, a spokesman for Beijing’s embassy in Washington, criticized candidates’ use of his country in campaign messages. “China is committed to promoting strong bilateral trade and economic cooperation, which brings about enormous benefit to the welfare of our two peoples,” Mr. Wang said. “So making China an issue in the elections or in any other forms is irrelevant and wrong-targeted.”

Mark Schauer, a Michigan Democrat facing a tough re-election fight, has aired an ad against his Republican rival saying, “Tim Walberg made it way too easy for companies to outsource our jobs to China.” Mr. Walberg said the ad was misleading and that he considered American products superior to Chinese ones.

In Ohio, Democratic Senate candidate Lee Fisher has focused on GOP opponent Rob Portman’s stint as a House member and as U.S. trade representative under President George W. Bush. “Congressman Rob Portman knows how to grow the economy—in China,” said a recent Fisher ad.

The Portman campaign rejected these assertions, saying Mr. Portman fought to increase exports and was the first U.S. trade representative to take China to court and win.

Republicans, for their part, cited China in their recently released “Pledge to America.” “We now borrow 41 cents of every dollar we spend, much of it from foreign countries, including China, and leave the bill to our kids and grandkids,” it said, as it attacked Democrats for “unparalleled recklessness with taxpayer dollars.”

Warnings of foreign influence have often been a feature of U.S. elections, especially in times of economic insecurity. And there is little reason to believe the latest ads will have a long-term effect on U.S.-China relations. or on the fate of anti-China legislation, which has struggled in Congress.But with China on the rise, warnings about it seem to have a special resonance this campaign season. The House, with GOP support, passed a bill in September to penalize Beijing’s foreign-exchange practices. A few days earlier, Democrats unsuccessfully pushed a measure to end corporate tax deductions for expenses related to shifting jobs overseas.

Meanwhile, in West Virginia, an ad by Republican Spike Maynard against Rep. Nick Rahall featured Asian music and Chinese flags. It cited a Texas wind farm that reportedly planned to apply for federal stimulus funds while obtaining its windmills from China. “It’s on our jeans, even our children’s toys: ‘Made in China,’ ” the narrator said.

Democrats said the windmill project would have materials manufactured in the U.S. and that the operator hadn’t applied for stimulus funds.

A similar back-and-forth is unfolding in Virginia, where an ad by Republican State Sen. Robert Hurt accuses Rep. Tom Perriello (D., Va.) of voting to give tax breaks to foreign companies “creating jobs in China.”

That’s a reference to a portion of the stimulus package that gives tax breaks for green jobs. The Perriello campaign said Mr. Hurt’s pledge not to raise taxes means he’d oppose closing tax loopholes for companies that move jobs overseas.

About the author: Naftali Bendavid covers Congress and politics for The Wall Street Journal. Before coming to the Journal, he covered the White House and the Justice Department for the Chicago Tribune. Bendavid also spent five years as deputy Washington bureau chief for the Tribune, overseeing its coverage of government and politics. Bendavid has covered such stories as the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the Al Gore presidential campaign, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the Supreme Court confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor.

Reprinted with kindly permission of The Wall Street Journal.


Pentagon Officials Renew Military Relations With China

October 6, 2010

The Pentagon, signaling a softening in its relationship with the Chinese military, announced that U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will meet with a Chinese counterpart next week in Vietnam and will likely visit Beijing early next year.

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates escorts Chinese army Gen. Xu Caihou, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, Oct. 27, 2009, to a conference room at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., where they will hold discussions on a broad range of security topics.  (DoD photo by R. D. Ward/Released)

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates escorts Chinese army Gen. Xu Caihou, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, Oct. 27, 2009, to a conference room at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., where they will hold discussions on a broad range of security topics. (DoD photo by R. D. Ward/Released)

Ties between the two militaries were suspended in January 2010, when China protested a $6.4 billion U.S.-Taiwan arms deal.

Read full story.


Clinton Global Initiative highlights, a night in Brooklyn, and more

October 1, 2010

Last week, heads of state, business leaders, and nonprofit executives gathered in New York City for the sixth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).

I started CGI after going to thousands of meetings over my career where people talked about issues but did little to solve them. We ask all CGI members to make a commitment to take action, and this year’s attendees made nearly 300 new commitments valued at $6 billion. You can view highlights of the meeting here, and then take our quiz to see how these commitments, along with your support, are improving lives around the world.

Earlier this month, we hosted our most recent Millennium Network Event – this time in Brooklyn, New York – to engage the next generation of philanthropists. This wonderful evening included performances from Chaka Khan and Talib Kweli.

Sign up today to become a part of this growing network.

Thank you for your support.

Bill Clinton


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